5. Holmenkollen

The trip to Holmenkollen was much expected as we would be able to see and feel the atmosphere of this authentic and legendary ski festival. The purpose of this trip was to see and learn about one of the Norwegian’s national prides. The learning outcomes of this trip were:

  • To learn about the cultural and historical aspect of Holmenkollen ski fest

  • Visit the Fram museum in order to learn more about the polar expeditions that seem to have special place in the norwegian’s history, and visit the ski museum at Holmenkollen

  • Increase our skills in camping and living outdoors

  • Learn more about our group dynamics, and how we would organize ourselves

Before the trip we had to familiarize ourselves with the history of Holmenkollen and why it has such a big meaning for the Norwegians.I found out from VisitOSLO.com about the history of Holmenkollen. I found that the first ski jumping competition in Holmenkollen took place already in 1892, and the winning jump in that event was 21.5 meters. The ski jumping seems to have undergone some developments since then, because this weekend the winning jump was over 130 meters! It seems that over some hundred years of time the Holmenkollen and the ski festival that we now participated, has became an integral part of Norwegian culture. According to the article the skifestival is nicknamed as a “second national day of Norway”. Furthermore, over time the Winter Olympic games and few world championships have been hosted in Holmenkollen and a famous ski museum established.

Our trip started early on Friday morning. First we decided to drive up to Holmenkollen and build the camp. Before the trip I assumed that we would be the only ones staying in the forest in winter time, but I was quite mistaken. As we arrived to the camping spot it was buzzing with other campers building their teepees, tents and fireplaces. This was something I didn’t expect. This really seemed to be part of the tradition; camping outdoors right next to the skiing tracks. This was also something I hadn’t experienced in Finland. Further, people had really put a lot of effort in building their camp spots. Almost every camp had some sort of lights hanging from the tents or the snow walls, and they had built nice seating areas out of snow, and had music and stereos with them. This was really stunning to see.

My tent group had a teepee, and this was the first time we properly set it up. Being smart outdoor students, none of us had brought snow shovels, but luckily we had some nice neighbours from whom we could borrow some. The teepee turned out to be nice and spacy option for sleeping, although decoration of our camp was not as impressive as the others’.

The main day of the skifest was saturday. As we woke up we noticed that the ski tracks and the camping spot was filled with people, and the atmosphere was high. To be clear, this wasn’t even the “official” area of the skifest.

However, we had tickets to the skifest area so that’s where we headed. The ski fest area was amazing as well. The cross country skiing for me was exciting as there were finns skiing and taking medals! We climbed to a big stand to follow the men’s 50 kilometer classic cross country Race. Something that confused us was that throughout the race a Norwegian and a Finnish guy were leading, and when the Norwegian won, people weren’t really that excited, and we were a little disappointed about that. Maybe it just doesn’t shock them anymore, as at the moment the Norwegians are quite unbeatable in this sport.

Another major event during that day was the ski jumping. This was even more like a festival: a majestic pit with seats around, music playing and the fact that it was really impressive to see up close how the jumpers flew such a long distance in the air. Another crazy thing was that probably 60 percent of the audience were Polish, and by hearing and seeing them supporting their jumpers, we learned that this sport is their national pride.

On Sunday the weather wasn’t too good, and we decided to head to the museums, and found out that we could actually buy one ticket to visit 3 different museums. Something i never heard of, but that was rather interesting was a Kon tiki -museum that we visited first. I learned that around 1950’s a norwegian guy Thor Heyerdahl had sailed across the pacific ocean on a raft made out of balsam trees. The story was quite crazy in many aspects, as he was not that experienced of a sea-man, he was even hydrophobic, and that a lot of people were very sceptic that they would make it out of the trip alive.

However, against all the odds they were successful and managed to sail unharmed to their destination to the Polynesian islands. He did the trip to prove that it was possible for people from South America to populate the Polynesian islands in pre-Columbian times.

The second museum we visited was the Fram museum, which was about the polar explorers and expeditions. We actually had our group assignment over this topic, so it was also convenient to visit the museum to get some more information. Apparently one of the most famous expeditions to the poles was called “the race to the south pole”. This was an event that took place around a hundred years ago, and was about a norwegian and british explorer’s expeditions in order to be the first to conquer the south pole.

It was very impressive to see the equipment and preparations they made a hundred years ago. And the fact that it took around two years to fulfill the mission and how patient they had to be before they could actually start the “main” attempt to reach the pole. The fact that the Norwegian guy, Amundsen, reached the south pole but Scott (a British) and 4 of his men died trying, makes one wonder how much it meant to conquer new land back in the days. For example, I would never risk my life in trying such thing.

On the other hand thanks to these people’s’ bravery, and all the other explorers’, we now know so much more about the world. This also something i learned that apart from the goal of conquering new lands, the explorers developed the maps, and the sea navigation, and conducted a lot of researched about the arctic circumstances.

VisitOSLO.com. “History of Holmenkollen”.URL: 
http://www.visitoslo.com/en/articles/history-of-holmenkollen. Accessed: 21.3.2017.